Wiltshire Council wants to hear from residents about its plans for reopening library services in the county during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The services closed on March 20 but eBooks, eMagazines and eAudio service continue to provide access to reading material. On March 27, a new service via Facebook offered rhyme times, tea and chat, bedtime stories and online book groups. In June, a home library service was launched to serve library members shielding and without digital access to download books, and is currently used by about 100 people. The online library content produced since lockdown has so far generated more than 83,000 views.
Now the council wants to hear ideas and feedback from the public on how to reopen the services and has put forward three options to provide their own ideas to help the council deliver the most appropriate service within current resources.
Possible options taking into account COVID-19 guidelines and social distancing measures could allow a partial and phased reopening of library services include:
An order and collect service: contacting the service by email/phone to request books or other materials to borrow; specific authors or topics, collected in person from a library, from August 10 at some hubs, and in each of the 18 community areas in the county by the end of September: 20 libraries could potentially be open by the end of September, subject to staff and finances.
An order and collect service with bookable computer access and pre-book computer session for those without access to the internet, again from August 10 at some main library hubs and in each community area by the end of September.
A socially distanced service with some access to browse stock and use computers in up to six libraries from the end of August and a maximum of another four, subject to staff capacity and social distancing.
A four-week public consultation closes on July 26.
The favoured option could be introduced initially for a six months d from August 10. Monthly reviews will assess how the impact of COVID-19 is changing, the financial impact of operating, lessons learnt and the opportunities for change.
Hard copies will be made available at County Hall, Trowbridge; Monkton Park, Chip-penham; and Bourne Hill, Salisbury. The consultation
In the meantime, the service has a range of online resources at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries-online-resources.